what did i get myself into...

lil-blu

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
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Jun 25, 2007
Messages
94
ok so, i went to the pet store to buy dinner and there this guy was. labeled as a vietamese birdeater. so right away i knew that he was an agressive species, but he was still amazing to look at. so after i get him home i take a closer look and see that he has mites. no problem i think; i'll just put him in a kk with a dish of water and wait for them to die off. and that is where the adventure begins. i took him to the bath tub because after doing a litle bit of reading i notice "agressive" "quick". ok bath tub is sounding better and better. my husband dones a leather work glove and procceds to pick him him to re-tank him. well that quick and agressive kicks in, it starts tearing up his arm, at which point he freaks out shakes and it falls about 6 inches to the tub. now here is the best part, he throws up a threat posture and i swear he hissed. can they hiss? i have never been so amazed and freaked out at the same time. he is now in a kk with just a dish of water chillin and waiting for his next opportunity to eat my hand, head, husband. whichever comes near to him. so here are my questions:

1) what is it? i believe that it is a vietamese tiger judging by his stripped abdomon.
2) i keep seeting care sheets that say, 80-100% humidity, but that will cause mites, right? what is the proper way?
3) how long will it take for the mites to die off? do i feed him while in quarantine?

 

BigHairy8's

Arachnosquire
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Apr 7, 2006
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132
It looks like you have a Haplopelma sp. Vietnam. By the pic, it looks to be a female. I've seen them named otherwise, but am not sure of it's "current" classification. Haplopelmas are big time burrowers. They love deep substrate. Yes, high humidity and you are correct that it gives more reason for mites to appear. Here is the scarey part. I have not had any luck letting the mites die off. They lay eggs and keep spreading. If they get too thick, and get into your T's mouth parts, she's in trouble. Mites have to be removed.:eek: I've done this on one of my H. lividums. (cobalt blue). Get some long swabs, like q-tips only longer. You can get them at a drug store. Dip the swab in alcohol and swab the mites off. It's not as easy as that. My bet is she won't cooperate well. I had to hold my lividum down on the counter with forceps and swab them off. You would be amazed how strong they are. In the "Tarantula Keepers Guide" by the Schultzes, it tells you about mite removal as well. I think there are even some deals on mites in these forums somewhere. Best of luck to ya!;)
 

sparular

Arachnoknight
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Jun 20, 2007
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184
Yes do a search on mites and many threads will come up. Dabbing with alcohol, dabbing with vaseline, waiting until a molt, baiting the mites off with dead crickets, putting the T in a dry tank with a wet paper towel to attract the mites, and others should be found in a search of the threads.
Mites are arachnids too which makes it hard to kill the mites and not the spider. I suggest drying out your spider (it can live dry longer than the mites) and providing a moist area that the T can't access but the mites can. For instance, a bare tank with a plastic yogurt or butter container with small holes drilled in it near the bottom filled with moist paper towels and a dead cricket (put the lid on the yogurt container). the mites will be drawn to the moisture and the food in the yogurt cup and hopefully off of your T. You can then spot check with the swab (alcohol or vaseline) and rinse the T off with water (to remove eggs and alcohol). Then put your T in a new cage or thoroughly sterilize the old cage (throw away all old bedding and wipe down with alcohol or bleach).
 

lil-blu

Arachnosquire
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Jun 25, 2007
Messages
94
well i looked her over and found 7 mites. i tried to brush them off with a paint brush but like you said she is having none of it. i'm starting to see why the pat store was so will to be rid of her. i'll try the q-tip alcohol remedy tomorrow after she settles a bit. and if that doesn't work the vasaline. but man is she quick.


and how am i suposto bath her? spray bottle?
 

JColt

Arachnoknight
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Isnt there a species of mites that only eats mites? They finish off regular mites then eat each other untill all are gone? I think someone sells them here or someone here knows where to get them.
 

JColt

Arachnoknight
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277
Here you go!

Hypoaspis can also be effective at ridding pet tarantulas, lizards and snakes of pest mites. Moisten area before introducing Hypoaspis. Introduce a few tablespoons of substrate with hypoaspis per habitat every day, as needed. Pest mites should dissappear within 48 hours. Continue introducing Hypoaspis until container is empty. Lighter dosages serve as a preventative, higher dosages as a curative.




http://www.biconet.com/biocontrol/hypoaspis.html
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
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Isnt there a species of mites that only eats mites? They finish off regular mites then eat each other untill all are gone? I think someone sells them here or someone here knows where to get them.
Yeah, but they're expensive and clearly an overkill for just one tarantula.

Visit www.ucalgary.ca/~schultz/mites07.html first.

Contrary to what everybody "knows," Haplopelma do not "need" a high humidity or a damp cage. They will adjust to a dry cage just fine if given the opportunity. I've done it dozens of times with H. lividum, H. minax and (I think) H. albostriatum. They do all like to dig, and H. lividum generally dies if it isn't allowed to, however.

For the time being, keep your tarantula in a Kritter Keeper with no substrate but supply a large water dish. Cover the cage with a dark cloth to darken it. (This eases the stress on the tarantula.) Don't feed it. After 3 or 4 days look again for mites using the instructions in that webpage.

If you see no more mites, move the tarantula into a permanent cage with a layer of substrate at least as deep as the tarantula's leg span. When you first set the cage up the substrate can be damp, but it should be allowed to dry out completely ASAP or your mites will surely return with a vengeance! Thereafter you'll have to perform a weekly to monthly mite check to make sure they don't come back.

Everybody has their own favorite substrate, especially for burrowers. My favorite is one part by volume of peat or potting soil with two or three parts by volume of top soil or garden loam. Sift and mix the two ingredients well before using. The top soil or garden loam must be certified pesticide free. Choose your source carefully.

That mixture is stable enough to support a good burrow but doesn't fuse into a solid brick either.

Watering burrowers is a real problem because they insist on filling their water dishes with dirt at every available opportunity. I got into the habit of merely pouring a third to a half cup of room temperature tap water down their burrows every second week or so. For a few moments they can drink liquid water before it soaks into the dirt. Thereafter the damp soil raises the burrow's humidity a little to help them resist mummification. They get a lot of additional water from their prey, too.

I had to do mite checks at least once a month and I always kept a spare cage, already set up but bone dry, setting to one side in case they had an outbreak. All I had to do was dig them out and move them to the clean cage, then remember to clean and re-set up the infested cage the next time I had a few moments.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.
 

JColt

Arachnoknight
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I think there was someone offering small cups of them for a few bucks awhile back but cant find it.
 

lil-blu

Arachnosquire
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Pikaia,
thank you for your advice. that was actaully one of the first links that i read after i discovered the mites. i did manage to remove about half a dozen mites from her back and legs. i'm sure that there are more that i can't see so i am hesitant to declare victory. i guess that i will just wait it out and hope that i can eleminate the problem. once again thank you, and i am more than happy to take all of the advice that you are will to dish out.
one last question, for a permanent home; does a 10" high X 9" wide tank seem big enough? she is about 3+", though i have not gotten a tape measure close yet.
 

BigHairy8's

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Just curious Pikaia. Do wild caught species like this do better when they are started in a fairly humid set up (providing they have no visible mite problems) to start with, then gradually let the substrate dry a bit? I nursed a WC lividum that was kept in a DRY, really dry cage. She did come out of it and is doing well now at about 50-60% humidity.
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
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... one last question, for a permanent home; does a 10" high X 9" wide tank seem big enough? she is about 3+", though i have not gotten a tape measure close yet.
You failed to give me the third dimension so I can't give you a direct "yes" or "no." However, all the adult and near adult Haplopelma that we had lived quite comfortably in standard sized 2-1/2 to 5-1/2 gal tanks. Like most terrestrial tarantulas they don't need huge amounts of space.
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
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Just curious Pikaia. Do wild caught species like this do better when they are started in a fairly humid set up (providing they have no visible mite problems) to start with, then gradually let the substrate dry a bit? I nursed a WC lividum that was kept in a DRY, really dry cage. She did come out of it and is doing well now at about 50-60% humidity.
Theoretically, yes. But you need to remember that the wild caught tarantulas that you're acquiring are not coming to you fresh from the jungle. They've been caught by some natives and held for days in God knows what kind of conditions.

Then they're collected by some wild animal collector (e.g., Jack T. Colton [Michael Douglas] in "Romancing the Stone") and dropped off at some exporter's warehouse after God knows how long bouncing along some jungle trails or dirt roads on a pack horse or 1976 Jeep.

Several days to several weeks later they're flown to some importer/distributor in Miami, Florida.

Several days to several weeks later they're flown to some wholesaler in Poughkeepsie, Fairbanks or wherever.

Several weeks later they were trucked to your favorite pet shop.

Several weeks or months later you bought it.

You bought it from a dealer, not a pet shop? Doesn't matter. It's still been out of its burrow for at least a month, maybe as long a 6 months!

At that point you aren't trying to acclimatize it to life in an artificial cage because that's all it's seen for weeks or months! What you *ARE* doing is helping it recover from the abuse of being housed and shipped under really, Really, REALLY bad conditions for all that time.

Your precious little gem has been literally tossed in and out of the bellies of a half dozen planes, stuffed into containers that were an order of magnitude too small for weeks, fed almost nothing, given almost nothing to drink, no fresh air, beat up by people who in many cases are functioning at the level of a caveman (All due apologies to the Geico guy!) as they were transfered to new containers when their old ones were so horrible they were in danger of being eaten alive by the fly maggots, etc., etc., etc.

When we were selling tarantulas in Calgary we'd get a batch in from Miami (we circumvented several stages in the process) and arranged to have all new, clean cages set up for them in advance, almost always with damp peat as substrate (but substitute your favorite here, it really doesn't matter). In effect they immediately went into an ICU as a matter of course.

You aren't trying to acclimatize them to captivity and life in a cage. You're trying to give them a chance to recover, to heal from their ordeal.

Now maybe you begin to understand just how tough and resilient your tarantulas really are, and why they deserve all the respect we can give them.
 

rattler420

Arachnosquire
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Nov 13, 2006
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51
nice post Pikaia. most people dont think about how rough imports of all kinds get treated. from birds to reptiles to bugs, most all of them catch a bit of hell before they make it into the states.
 

beetleman

Arachnoking
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:clap: haps are a great genus,i have many,my top list of ts enjoy your new psyco:)
 

lil-blu

Arachnosquire
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Jun 25, 2007
Messages
94
set up is 10x9x9. it is an old hexagonal fish tank that i finally have some use for. sorry i was thinking that everone can see what i see:rolleyes:


you really do give some great insite into what these little guys go though since i'm sure that not many people think or care about it.
 

RottweilExpress

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Apr 3, 2006
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1,092
Pikaia feels like a fresh wind here, that's good.

And yes, nice spider. Especially if you enjoy spiders you never get the chance to see much. :}
 

JMoran1097

Arachnoangel
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Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
924
definitely a Haplo. not my particular favorite color, but definitely my favorite genus. you can always regulate the humidity by using masking tape or a towel and covering part of the enclosure. i keep my haplo's at a high humidity, but never had a mite problem because I don't spray every day. maybe every other day or less than that. while it will be a pain in the butt to keep that aggressive girl in quarantine, yes you can feed it. if you notice mites on her, they will jump off to be on the moist paper towel on the bottom of the quarantine enclosure. problem solved. now the fun part is transferring her back.

edit: as it's already been stated, Haplo's bury DEEP. generally they won't need to come to the surface unless it's to obtain moisture, but lightly misting the top of the substrate every few days is fine.
 
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